3.6 magnitude earthquake shakes Cache Valley

Oct 17, 2013

This map shows the approximate location of the 3.6 magnitude earthquake near Hyrum Thursday morning. Many Cache Valley residents reported feeling the quake.
This map shows the approximate location of the 3.6 magnitude earthquake near Hyrum Thursday morning. Many Cache Valley residents reported feeling the quake.
Credit seis.utah.edu

A 3.6 magnitude earthquake struck  in the mountains on the east side of Cache Valley, about seven miles east of Hyrum and 11 miles southeast of Logan.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the last time an earthquake of this size hit northern Utah was in 1988 when a 4.3 magnitude earthquake struck near Bear Lake.

Katherine Whidden is a research seismologist with the University of Utah Seismograph Stations. She said about 85 people reported feeling the earthquake.

"We have on average in Utah about eight magnitude-3 earthquakes, 3-4 (magnitude) eight per year, in Utah, and three in the Wasatch front," Whidden said. "So it's not that uncommon. It's certainly not an unusual event or anything."

Whidden said there is about a one in 20 chance that a small earthquake will be followed by a larger one. She said Utahns should be prepared for a large, damaging earthquake at any time.

"When people say 'We're due,' that's true," she said. "We could have a magnitude 6.5 - 7.5 on the Wasatch fault really at any moment, and the best thing that people can do is to be prepared, to have a 72-hour kit with food and water for your family, supplies, medicine, all those kinds of things that you might not be able to get to in the event of a large earthquake, which would be quite damaging for us."

Whidden said a major threat to Utah during a large earthquake would be the number of buildings made of brick.

"We just have a lot of old houses that are made of brick, that are not reinforced with rebar or some kind of metal, and that's going to be a problem," she said.

The largest recorded earthquake to ever hit Cache Valley was a 5.7 magnitude quake in 1962.

Eric is from Las Vegas, Nevada and studies broadcast journalism at Utah State. In joining the Utah Public Radio family, he has now delved into each of the "Big Three" of journalism: print, television and radio. His dream is to someday live and report the news in Chicago, Illinois (or wherever his career takes him.) In addition to reporting for UPR, Eric is the copy editor at the Utah Statesman and contributes to Aggie TV News.